“We become what we think about all day long.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson~
I can’t be sure that Ralph Waldo Emerson was referring to money when he said that “We become what we think about all day long” but it is certainly appropriate. Particularly if, all day long you are thinking about how broke you are.
My last blog was about behavioural finance and the biases that often shape our financial decision making. I got to ruminating on confirmation bias and the very strong link to the limiting beliefs we often experience in relation to money.
Confirmation bias is where we draw a conclusion then go looking for evidence to support it (often ignoring contradictory evidence).
Many of you will have a credit card and many of you will pay it off each month by the due date to avoid paying interest on the purchases. Others though, will never seem to get the debt paid off.
The internal conversation goes something like this: “This credit card debt is out of control. I’m so hopeless at managing money. I’m never going to get out of debt and get ahead.” This internal dialogue goes on a repeat loop and before you know it, you start believing your own story that you’re hopeless at managing money and never going to get ahead.
Every time something goes wrong for you, you use it to reinforce this view that you are hopeless. The result is that you make no serious effort to change your situation which then again reinforces the idea that you’ll never get ahead.
As kids we tell ourselves stories to try to make sense of what is going on around us. We seek comfort in these stories as we know how they play out. Even if they aren’t positive, they at least feel safe. However, they are really just one version of reality and a child view at that. The trouble with taking these stories into adulthood is that they no longer serve us (if they ever did!).
So what if you flipped that thinking around? If it’s just a story you’re telling yourself then why not try a different story? And why not go looking for “evidence” to support this new story?
Instead of the limiting belief that “I’m hopeless at managing money”, try reframing it. “Yes. Things are challenging at the moment, but with some planning I can manage to get out of debt. Like the time I managed to save $5,000 for a holiday.”
Actively look for positive examples of the times you have been a Warrior with your money. How you paid off your Uni debt, or repayed your parents for your first car. How you saved for a house or managed to live on next to nothing while your travelled. How you always juggle the family budget even when it is a bit tight.
Give your subconscious something positive to work with. Let the stories that repeat in your head be positive ones that support you to make changes. As time goes on you will gather more evidence to support your new positive beliefs that you are good at managing money and that you are getting ahead.
Don’t get me wrong, you can’t just magically positively think your way to a good financial position, but with the right mindset you will be prepared to take positive steps needed to change. You will find yourself acting like you are good with money and, with practice (and help when you need it) you will be great with money.
Eventually, this more positive mindset will become your new normal. You’ll find yourself with the mindset to become financially healthy and create true abundance in your life.